Yukiko Yamashita is a biology professor at MIT and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Yukiko’s research is amazingly broad, perhaps because she often only realizes at the end of a project which question she was asking by what she had been doing, as she explains in this episode. She likens research to solving 5000-piece jigsaw puzzles – not one at a time, but with the pieces from hundreds of puzzles all dumped together. So that while we put the pieces together, we have to be always watching ourselves: does that come from the same picture? Yukiko sees her role in the lab like that of an old wise woman in a tribe, a kind of ancient memory that still remembers their conversation with former lab members – stimulating creativity by bridging projects and generations of researchers.
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